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Tuesday 14 August 2018

Rodgers: Mikey is a special player and part of my plans

TALENT: Celtic’s Michael Johnston. Photo: PA
TALENT: Celtic’s Michael Johnston. Photo: PA

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers described Mikey Johnston as a "special talent" and insisted he is part of his plans.

It was reported that the 19-year-old winger could possibly be used as a sweetener in a deal to bring Hibernian midfielder John McGinn to Parkhead, with St Mirren manager Alan Stubbs also reportedly keen to take him on loan. 

However, ahead of tonight's Champions League first qualifying round second leg against Alashkert at Parkhead, Rodgers said of Johnston: "He is very much staying here at Celtic at this point in time.  

"He is an exciting young talent at 19 years of age. He is learning the other side of the game in terms of the tactical idea of pressing and how to work and how to recover, but there is no doubt he is a special talent. 

"So at this moment in time he is very much in my plans. We need to develop him, get him some games and if that changes there is a number of options, with teams that would like to take him, but at this moment he stays." 

Rodgers, who hopes to tie down Belgium World Cup defender Dedryck Boyata on a new deal when he returns from holiday, was less expansive about the possibility of McGinn moving to Celtic.

Hibs have rejected two bids from the Parkhead club for the Scotland international, reported to be of £1.5 million and £2 million. 

The Northern Irishman said: "It is something that is pretty much between the clubs and of course there is speculation around Mikey and John and other players, but it is nothing to comment on. 

"We just get on with letting the clubs sort it out and if they can then great." 

The former Swansea and Liverpool boss stressed the importance of Boyata to his future plans. 

Rodgers said: "He is very important. I always said that once he got into the team, Dedryck has done very well."

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